I’m using The White Rat is a medieval French faerie tale which I use as a metaphorical exploration of who I have been brought up to be verses the person I see looking back at me in the mirror. The White Rat is the story of how: a white rat who is transformed into a longed for princess by a childless king and queen, becomes her true self through the process of choosing her perfect prince. In the process of choosing between all the greatest powers on earth: the sun, the cloud, the wind and the mountain, the princess realises the discrepancies between familial expectations, what she sees in the mirror and what she feels herself to be from her core. For this portfolio, I have focused in becoming some of the main characters in a configuration based on the Jungian analysis of the 3 main characters (king, queen, princess) through archetypes represented as the magic box.
The process of becoming these characters took place in several stages. The first of which involved creating translations of Henri Pourrat’s La Rate Blanche faerie tale and creating a source material database which visualises these tales as illustrated books in: French, English, German, Turkish and Arabic. Although all of this source material is created manually, in my own hand, I’ve incorporated aesthetics from historical eras associated with each language of translation. The second stage in becoming these characters, for this MRes thesis final portfolio, was to create an environment which narrates the practice involved in creating these images. The walls are covered with two different wallpapers created from motifs from the faerie tale which were explored in the research paper. These motifs belong to The Black Rat the princess choses to marry and that of her adopted father as the archetype of The Sun King. The Black Rat represents Marie-Louise van Franz’s Jungian analysis of the black shadow of the sun.
For me, the sun creating a black light is the process of what happens when I try to solve one problem and create another in the process. Eventually, I like the king and queen in The White Rat am forced back to the point where I started – the place where the answer was always waiting, but following a series of events and disasters. Although the princess didn’t know she was once a rat, all their events of containing her in a human body led her down a path of realisation. One where she needed to be a rat again because she couldn’t marry who she wanted if she was in the wrong form.
I’m not making a commentary on all the social ills involved in marriage as the pivotal point in defining a woman. I’m sticking to the faerie tale when I say this.